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On my way to Canyonlands, The Needles District, UT

I am heading to Monticello, the closest town to the entrance of Canyonlands National Park, The Needles District.

(from Google: Canyonlands National Park is the largest national park in Utah, covering 527.5 square miles. The park is divided by the Colorado and Green Rivers into three districts: the Island in the Sky, the Needles, and the Maze. Horseshoe Canyon is also part of Canyonlands National Park but is geographically separate.)

When I open Google Maps to show me the way, there are two options. One will take me through Moab, but since I plan to get to Moab later in the week, I decided to take my second option, UT-24 E to UT-95 S to US-191 N.

Obviously, I have never been on the moon. However, that is what I feel as I drive and drink in all this naked beauty.

It is a rugged landscape with mountains of various sizes, some of which I will describe more like hills. They have a soft feel, but I know they are hard as a rock. They are painted in different shades of gray, brown, and tan. No matter how they stand, they are naked with no substance, but that's what makes them so unique and beautiful. (Unfortunately, I could not find a place to park and take pictures)

My Landscape movie continues to be a phenomenon. Now I am entering a totally new movie. My horizon has giant mountains still covered with snow, rising from the vast desert. The stunning contrast is so bold that I forget to breathe for a second.

For quite a while, those two opposite landscapes kept me company and put a big smile on my face.

I left late in the day for my four-hour drive, so by five I still have an hour left before getting to Monticello. I am loving the landscape around me, so I decided to find a place to camp for the night and not continue further. As I travel on UT-95 S just before Natural Bridges National Monument, iOverlander shows me an abandoned airstrip just off the road.

If you find yourself in this area, check out Natural Bridges National Monument. I visited this park a few years ago, and it is worth a visit.

From my last visit to this area, I know it is highly recommended not to park on a BLM in wet weather. As you can see, I am still trying to regain my confidence in driving a front-wheel-drive vehicle. The last thing I want to deal with is being stuck in nowhereland. 

Even though the abandoned airstrip is off the road, barely any cars are passing by and I get my lovely silence and a beautiful view. 

It is a very windy evening. I stay warm in my van, enjoying the view from my windows. As I lay in my bed, listening to the howling wind, the crescent moon shines her light on me. What a magical night.

By 6:30, I am awake and ready to start my day, but I am so cozy that I stay longer, watching the clouds above me. It takes me a few minutes to realize I better get going fast—the clouds above are changing quickly. I find myself in a light snowstorm. I do keep an eye on the weather; it is, after all, a significant factor in my travels. This snow is a surprise to me. Time to move on.

Twenty minutes into my ride, the clear sky is ahead of me. Terrific! I am driving in the right direction. 

When I get to the town of Blanding, I stop at a gas station to wash up. Today, I have a newfound appreciation for clean gas station bathrooms. I don't feel awkward anymore going in with a small toiletry bag. I need to do what I need to do. I always make sure to leave the bathroom clean, like I was never there.

The weather looks very promising now, but I need to take care of one issue before I continue.

I do have a minor health problem that I need to take care of. Every few years, the plantar fascia on my right foot gets inflamed. I stopped at the local clinic in Monticello to see if I could get a cortisone shot.

The local doctor at this location is not trained to give this kind of shot, but I can book an appointment in Moab for Friday.

I was in the clinic for about thirty minutes. I stepped in with the sun in the sky and came out to a full-blown snowstorm. What the...

Now what...?

I sit in my car for a while, trying to figure out my next steps. In the meantime, all my windows are covered with snow. Again, I opened the weather app. I knew today would be a cloudy windy day, but snow? 

I decided to take a room in a small motel. After a quick Google search, I checked into The Atomic Blue Motor Inn. I made a great choice! The room is clean and renovated.

As I step into my room, I am sure the god of weather is laughing at me. Yes, that is a good joke, because suddenly, there is no wind or snow. It almost feels like all of it was my imagination.

So that is where I am now (4.15.24), sitting in a lovely room catching up with my writing. 

Until next time...

P.S. I am a bit behind on my posts.

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